Thai coconut curry soup

currysoup1So, it is now soup season. However, I don’t really like soup. Stews and chilis, I’m okay with, but I can’t get the least bit excited when I hear someone say that soup is for dinner. There’s so much liquid, so little substance in many soups; they never seem to actually fill me up, and they all seems to lack in the flavor department.

One of my coworkers started talking about soups the other day, and then she started to wax poetically about broth. “Are you serious?!?” I exclaimed. “WHO LIKES A BOWL OF BROTH! THAT IS EATING NOTHING!” I’m quite incredulous about this. It is just beyond me to look forward to a big bowl of nothing when meal time rolls around.

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And although I still don’t get turning chicken broth, a perfectly acceptable base for dense soups, stews, sauces, rice, what-have-you, into a meal, I accept that some people I know like soup, and I aim to please not only my belly when I cook, but also those of people I feed (but let’s be honest, I take the most effort to please mine). Alas, here is a meal that I don’t make for me. I think it’s pretty good. I never crave this soup; I actually have come to discover that I don’t really like coconut curries. I generally like coconut, but for some reason in curry form, it just doesn’t excite me. Since I am absolutely failing at selling this recipe to you, here’s what Ben thinks of it:

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I will eat anything and everything that has curry in it, so inquiring as to why someone should make this is similar to asking me whether… well I don’t have a good analogy. You shouldn’t need an excuse to eat currified anything. What really sold me, however, is the versatility of this Thai coconut curry soup. It’s one of those things that gets better as leftovers– I suspect because the flavors infuse into the sweet potatoes. You can have it on its own or with a side of rice or bread. Although we always use sugar snap peas, you can throw in any greens you forgot you had sitting in your fridge too. As someone who tries to get the best bang for his buck in terms of flavor for time invested into making it, this is great.

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Thai coconut curry soup
slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s 30 Minute Meals, Winter 2010
serves 4-6
four-stars

3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 ½ large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups snow peas, stems snapped off, string removed and cut in half on bias
2 limes
cilantro

1. Poach chicken: Bring a small to medium pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon fish sauce and chicken. Continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 10-15 minutes, and it registers 160F inside. Transfer chicken to a plate and shred into bite-sized pieces.

2. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add green curry paste and ginger; stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add sweet potatoes, coconut milk and chicken broth to the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and simmer until sweet potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce, sugar and snow peas, and cook until snow peas are bright green, about 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and the juice of one of the limes.

5. Serve the soup, garnishing with a small handful of cilantro in each bowl and a wedge of lime.

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